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Julius Baer profit rises; bank to focus on costs

Julius Baer reported a 19 percent rise in full-year adjusted net profit on Monday and said it would focus on improving cost efficiency in 2014.

"If I look at the overall results, the operating results are strong, we're up 19 percent year-on-year. The second half was a bit more subdued but I think that, given the market environment, that's a bit more understandable," Chief Executive Boris Collardi told CNBC on Monday.

Reuters cited Collardi as saying the banking group had been approached by regulators probing alleged rigging of the foreign exchange market. The bank was in the process of clarifying its position internally, Collardi told a press conference later on Monday.

The Swiss banking group reported full-year adjusted net profit of 480 million Swiss francs ($529.5 million) on Monday, missing expectations of a 495 million Swiss francs in a Reuters poll, and said adjusted earnings per share (EPS) rose by 12 percent to 2.24 Swiss francs.

Shares of the group were trading down 2.6 percent following the results.

It said assets under management (AUM) grew 65 billion Swiss francs, or 34 percent, in 2013 to 254 billion Swiss francs. It will propose a dividend of 0.60 Swiss francs per share, to be paid out of the share premium reserve.

(Read more: Less 'Secret' Switzerland Still Favorite Banking Hub: Julius Baer)

Collardi said that current market volatility seen particularly in emerging markets — on the back of tapering by the U.S. Federal Reserve, would not upset the bank too much in 2014, however.

"Given early indicators- and it's only anecdotal so far – I think we should see investors going back to the market regardless whether it's emerging or domestic but I'm pretty positive it will be an event-driven year," he told CNBC Europe's "Squawk Box."

"We will see what happens here or there in different parts of the world but I'm quite positive for 2014."

The earnings come after a turbulent year for the bank in which ongoing investigations were launched by U.S. regulators for allegedly helping wealthy Americans to evade their tax obligations by offering them hidden Swiss offshore accounts.


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